“I Want to See the Prophet,” Liahona, Oct. 2003, 14–16
When Sally was about eight years old, she lived in Salt Lake City. President David O. McKay (1873–1970) was the prophet. Sally had heard many stories of people having the chance to see him. After general conference, he always came out a back door of the Tabernacle and climbed into a big car. A huge group of people waited outside the Tabernacle to see him, hoping to shake his hand, say hello—even just see him in person instead of on television. Sally thought it must be wonderful to actually meet the prophet.
She decided she would ask her parents if they would take her to Temple Square during general conference. But she did not tell them that she wanted to wait with all the other people and maybe have the chance to talk to President McKay. This was her special secret.
It was a beautiful day—not too hot, not too cold—when Sally’s family went to Temple Square during an afternoon session and listened to conference on the Tabernacle grounds. Large speakers carried the meeting to everyone outside, because the Tabernacle—every bench, every seat—was filled with people.
As Sally walked by the open doors, she caught a glimpse of the Tabernacle Choir and the General Authorities. Her heart leaped with excitement as she thought, “Today’s the day! Today’s the day! I’m going to meet President McKay!”
She could see people starting to gather at the back of the Tabernacle. After receiving permission from her parents, she joined the group and struggled toward the front. She wasn’t very tall, so if she didn’t stand right in front, how would she meet the prophet?
At last, with a wriggle here and jostle there, she reached the front of the crowd, where ropes blocked off a pathway between the Tabernacle and the road. There, just as she had heard, waited the big shiny car.
“Not much longer to wait,” she thought. She could hear the closing hymn being sung. “Sing faster! Sing faster!” she silently urged. After the closing prayer, the organist began to play the powerful Tabernacle organ once more. It was really time!
The crowd around her pressed forward, pushing against the ropes a bit. People were pouring out of the building, many of them joining the crowd, hoping to catch a glimpse of the prophet too.
The big car started and pulled forward a little. A large door at the back of the building opened.
But much to Sally’s dismay, now that the car had moved, she couldn’t see a thing but the car! She could also see the heads of a few men. But President McKay was not well, so although he was a tall man, he now sat in a wheelchair. Sally couldn’t see him at all—not even catch a glimpse of his wheelchair’s rubber wheels. How was she supposed to see the prophet, let alone meet the prophet, if she couldn’t see anything?
She wanted to dash under the rope and run to the car. She wanted to climb in the car and shake his hand, say hello—something.
But all too quickly, the door slammed shut and the big car pulled slowly onto the road. It was over. He was gone.
Sally stood stunned. Her dreams! Her plans!
The crowd scattered, leaving her standing alone, staring at the ropes that had been dropped to the ground after President McKay left.
Then, a quiet whispering thought entered her mind: “Why do you want to meet him, anyway?”
“To see him and to know for myself that he is a prophet,” she almost said aloud, feeling the sting of tears.
Suddenly, she sensed a warm feeling in her heart. It was sweet and loving and slightly reproving. The thought came: “You do not need to see him to know. All you need to do is ask.”
It was so easy, so simple! Before she could even begin to say a quick prayer in her heart, an incredible warmth filled her from the top of her head down to her toes. She knew. The man in that car, the one who had sat so quietly all through conference, the one who seemed so frail—who, to her, seemed like he must have lived forever—was without a doubt a prophet of the Lord. She didn’t need to meet him. And she didn’t need to shake his hand. He didn’t need to pat her on the head or speak to her. She just knew.
And now she understood that for the rest of her life, she could always find out that the man who became the prophet and President of the Church was called of God. All she had to do was ask.
“God teaches His sons and daughters by the power of His Spirit, which enlightens their minds and speaks peace to them concerning the questions they have asked.”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Teaching and Learning by the Spirit,” Liahona, May 1999, 22.